Digital staff writer for the Books desk at the New York Times, Concepción de León, discusses her experience with trauma and her therapeutic journey in "How to Rewire Your Traumatized Brain".
We need to feel the stories of our lives in order to heal them. But trauma is all about not feeling. Even asking the question, “Can you tell me about your trauma?” can be befuddling if not disturbing for the client who has learned to put their head down, turn off their sensitivities and mush on.
Visit the living room of the average family that is “living with,” or should I say “drowning in,” addiction and you are likely to find a family that is functioning in emotional extremes. Where feelings can explode and get very big, very fast or implode and disappear into “nowhere” with equal velocity. Where what doesn’t matter can get unusual focus while what does matter can be routinely swept under the rug. A family in which small, fairly insignificant behaviors can be blown way out of proportion while outrageous or even abusive ones can go entirely ignored and unidentified. Where things don’t really get talked about but instead become shelved, circumvented or downright denied.
It would be reasonable to assume that men’s issues are adequately addressed in alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment. However, that is simply not the case. According to SAMHSA, men are consistently seventy-percent of the treatment admissions each year; it would benefit all involved to ensure that they are receiving the best and most appropriate services available. While addiction treatment has historically focused on men and a man’s perspective it has also not recognized the full array of problems that men have – in their addictions or recovery processes.
As a psychologist who works with trauma, I am very much aware of how difficult it can be to recall details of a traumatic experience. Even the question, “can you tell me about your trauma?” can be befuddling, if not somewhat disturbing, to one who has experienced it...
When Current Events Trigger Your Past Trauma
By Dr. Georgia Fourlas, LCSW, LISAC, CSAT-S
Clinical Director of Workshops
Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows
Most people have dealt with some form of trauma in their lifetime. Some have sought professional help while other people relied on their support system of family and friends to assist them through healing. Others may have never dealt with their trauma at all. They may have found a way to numb out their reactions to their trauma (e.g. substance use, intimacy disorders, overworking, eating disorders, etc.). Or they may have forgotten memories of the traumatic event...
While building a tribe can be scary at times, like other things in recovery, it can also be exciting. Our best friends were once strangers, ones we probably met because we weren’t staring at our screens. Now, go: put your phone down (unless you’re attending an online meeting), and build your village. That’s what it takes to heal. And, healing, by the way, can and does happen.
Grief and loss are unavoidable. They are a natural part of the human condition. No one can escape experiencing several forms of loss throughout their lives. However, in the American culture, many people attempt to avoid the feelings associated with grief and loss by denying the impact it can have on our present and future lives. Some people may quickly gloss over grief and loss, stating: “I’ve accepted, forgiven, and moved on” to put a matter to rest. Others may delve into addictive behaviors or other dysfunctional ways to numb out or block the feelings associated with grief. Unfortunately, storing grief and loss in our heads is a missed opportunity for growth on an emotional and spiritual level. It’s also an overlooked chance for hope according to Dr. Elizabeth- Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist who was a pioneer in near-death studies. When a person processes thoughts and feelings, including grief, in a supportive, therapeutic individual or group environment, hope is often a powerful outcome.
This conference addresses the most relevant and cutting edge topics for professionals working in the addictions and behavioral health fields. It offers a comprehensive view and updates in a series of plenary sessions along with focused in-depth workshops to provide participants with skill-building in their areas of interest.